Lee Tran asking county commission to raise bus fares

CREATED Feb. 19, 2014

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FORT MYERS, Fla. - Lee Tran is asking county commissioners to raise bus fares to help with budget challenges.

If approved, bus fares would increase from $1.25 to $1.50 and paratransit bus fares (for disabled riders) would go from $2.50 to $3.00.

"Is there a reason why it's more than a regular fare?" Fox 4 asked.

"It cost more to provide that service, it's door to door service, it's scheduled where we pick people up at their home, deliver them to the door of their destination and back again," Joann Haley, Marketing Manager for Lee Tran, said.

Haley says under the Americans with Disability Act, paratransit bus fares are usually double the price of regular bus fares.

"Anytime you have to pay more for something than you're used to, it hits ya, but when comes down to the hard reality, we know things go up," Mike Ulrich said.

Ulrich is the Vice President of the Southwest Florida Council of the Blind and says that the majority of the council's 27 members use Lee Tran.

He says the group is comfortable with paying more as long as the money goes towards improving public transportation for the handicapped.

"We just wish we could get more service, stay out later, go further, go to different places that aren't covered right now," Ulrich said.
 
The fare increase would generate an extra $800,000.
 
The money could go towards adding more buses to crowded routes like Route 140 that runs along US 41.
 
"It would certainly help in areas where we are seeing overcrowding on our buses, our ridership has increase 35% in the last five years,"  Haley said.
 
Lee County co missioners will hold a public hearing before making a decision.
 
The date for the hearing hasn't been set yet.
 
Let Fox 4 know what you think about the idea of raising fares when you email us at news@fox4now.com or call us at (239) 206-FOX 4.